On Wednesday afternoon, actor-producer Prithviraj Sukumaran posted a tweet stating that he along with the crew of his next film Aadujeevitham are stuck at the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan owing to the Coronavirus pandemic that has left the world devastated. The crew was reportedly shooting for the film till March 27 after acquiring proper permission from the authorities.
— Prithviraj Sukumaran (@PrithviOfficial) April 1, 2020
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, all release, production and post-production activities of the various film industries worldwide have come to a standstill since mid-March. But the team of Prithviraj starrer Aadujeevitham was found engaged in the filming process till March 27. They were initially stopped on March 24, much like other film crews, but received approval from the government of Jordan as they were reportedly following all rules and were in proper isolation in the Wadi Rum desert.
As the situation worsened, their permission to shoot was revoked and the team was asked to return to India at the earliest. But owing to the lockdown imposed in India, there was no possibility for the crew to return. Though the crew has everything, including food and accommodation, sorted till the second week of April, they aren’t reportedly prepared for the weeks beyond.
“We completely understand that given the circumstances around the world, our team of 58 might not be the biggest concern of authorities back home now, and rightfully so. But we also felt that it was our duty to let all concerned know about the situation and keep them updated. There are thousands of Indians around the world waiting to get back home and we hope when the appropriate time and opportunity arrives, we are also able to come back to India. Till then, I hope all of you stay safe and let’s collectively hope and pray that life gets back to normal soon. Cheers,” said the actor in his tweet.
The 58-member team also comprises a doctor who has been conducting checkups for the crew every 72 hours along with a government-appointed Jordanian doctor.
The director of the film, Blessy, has also sought help from the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce to bring the crew back to Kerala through email. He has requested them to enable the crew to be able to get back to India before the visas of the members expire.
On receiving the email from the chamber, the Cultural Minister of Kerala, A K Balan, has reportedly spoken to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, about the issue.
“The Union minister has promised to take necessary measures to extend their visas as it is not possible to bring them back home at the moment,” said Balan in a statement.
According to a report on Onmanorama, when the outbreak happened in mid-March, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayanand had directed the NORKA Principal Secretary to notify the Indian embassy at Jordan about the crew. When the embassy contacted the crew, they found that the team was keen on continuing the shoot given the fact that they had undertaken all safety measures.
Aadujeevitham is helmed by Blessy, a former associate of director Lohithadas. Bankrolled by K.G. Abraham, the film will release in 3D this year. The film is based on Benyamin’s best-selling book of the same name that talks about the plight of a Malayali who goes in search of a job to the Gulf.
Prithviraj is believed to be sporting two looks for the movie. While one look demands a fairly built physique, the other requires him to shed weight. This is the reason the movie’s shoot, which began in March 2018, is spread across a span of two years.
AR Rahman is composing for the film, marking the maestro’s comeback to Malayalam after a gap of 28 years. He last composed in Malayalam for the Mohanlal starrer Yodha in 1992. K.U.Mohanan is handling cinematography, Sreekar Prasad is editing and Resul Pookutty is designing sound.